I”m going to tell you a story about a girl who happens to have a Hen Party to attend. This girl is hesitant about the whole night she is shy and low on energy. She doesn’t know what to wear as most of her clothing could be described as ‘classic’ or ‘conservative’. Not exactly a clubbing/party dress in sight. The evening/going out clothes she does have are a couple of years old so she buys a dress. A knee length navy pencil dress to be exact.
The impulse buy was many months before this hen do. The week of the hen party, this girl goes to her wardrobe to try on this new specially bought dress. The dress is on but it doesn’t look the same as when it arrived. You see the girl has had a relapse and ended up with a slightly swollen tummy from a recent hospitalisation.
To the untrained eye, a girl frantically trying every dress on in her wardrobe is stereotypical girl-with-insecurities snapshot in time. The girl sees clothes that don’t fit quite right and the lack of muscle tone that has suddenly disappeared.
She sees the recent bumps in her health that have left her weaker slightly more squishy and feeling far older than her years. She feels like the ancient old lady who is just skin and some bone but most of all she sees the impact her health has on her body, knowing that there is little she can do to change it right now. Of course, she can eat healthily but that only goes so far. When you are unable to move or build muscle which takes an effort, doing a small daily task is a hundred times harder. You just feel like you haven’t been paying attention. How did you not notice the muscle slowly fading away? That is the realisation in the mirror. You aren’t the same as the recent past you, let alone the person you before ME.
It’s more than the way your body looks or how clothes hang on you. It’s evidence of a poor health and a lack of control. The girl feels defeated because nothing sticks with her illness. She can’t change in a matter of months. Her options might be to squeeze into control underwear and hope for the best or find a dress that isn’t going to make her feel young but hide the saggy squishy bits. This girl is only in her twenties. Sure she isn’t overweight and seems to be a relatively pretty and ‘normal’ person.
Think about how it would feel to have your health written on your body, the bad times visible and the potential to be told that you are just being self-conscious. It’s all intertwined health, looks, body condition, self-esteem, control. The more pressure, the more they all suffer. This girl might have body confidence issues but it’s more than how her bum looks in a dress. It’s a synopsis of her health and how she views the disappointment of sliding back down to being worse and having no control over the depth of all of this. Yes, she can eat healthily but she can’t put muscle on without using them.
Sometimes it’s more complicated than we think and to dismiss it can be harder to deal with. This girl has to realise that her body has changed for the worst because of her health and her general condition. It’s more than just feeling bad about being out of shape it’s a life that you can’t control. It’s what you see in the mirror.
Is this something you want me to write more on the blog? Is self-confidence something I should cover? Has being chronically ill impacted on your body image and self esteem?
Side note- apologies about the serious blog posts, with a wedding around the corner I am grateful to have blog posts to publish and they are all topics I think should be spoken about.